Wondering how to stop panic attacks? Anyone who’s had such an experience wishes there was a ‘magic button’ to banish those episodes forever. Unfortunately, overcoming such a challenge isn’t so simple.
At the same time, the fact that panic attack relief can take time and effort shouldn’t discourage you. We all face many obstacles in life that don’t have an ‘easy’ solution. However, meeting these struggles with a hope-filled mindset is a great start.
Panic attacks can come out of nowhere. Maybe they take place at work, school, or in another public setting. The intense and overwhelming fear shakes you to the core. You likely have never felt so out of control before. And once your fear response calms, all you can think of is how to avoid ever having another panic episode.
If you can relate, we’ll discuss some ideas to help you work through your panic attacks. As tempting as it may be, you don’t have to give up and just settle.
What is a Panic Attack?
The National Institute of Mental Health describes a panic attack as follows:
“Panic attacks are characterized by a fear of disaster or of losing control even when there is no real danger. A person may also have a strong physical reaction during a panic attack. It may feel like having a heart attack. Panic attacks can occur at any time, and many people with panic disorder worry about and dread the possibility of having another attack.”
What Causes Panic Attacks?
Unlike anxiety attacks which exhibit many of the same physical and mental distress signs, panic attacks generally don’t have a discernable trigger. And panic attack symptoms typically don’t show up until extreme fear has already begun.
They ‘just seem to happen’ only adding to the stress and anxiety. If strugglers could discover what triggers panic attacks, they could develop more specific and effective coping strategies. But that often isn’t possible. If panic attacks occur with enough regularity, an individual may be diagnosed with panic disorder.
How to Get Rid of Panic Attacks
That’s, by far, the most pressing question for any panic attack sufferer. Panic attacks mimic the greatest fear response a human being can experience. And frustratingly, this often happens without a typical fear-response stimulus such as a life-and-death struggle might cause.
So, what can you do to alleviate your high anxiety caused by panic attacks? Here are some thoughts on that.
Get a Physical Exam First
Because many panic attack symptoms are physical, it’s smart to make sure your heart and body are working well. Panic attacks can mimic serious physical health conditions such as heart disease. Once physical health concerns are ruled out, there are some additional steps you can take.
Reach Out for Panic Attack Help As Soon as Possible
Left to themselves, panic attack symptoms only grow worse. Because of the ever-growing anticipation of future panic episodes, trying to handle this type of anxiety on your own will only backfire.
Panic attacks and panic disorder strugglers can eventually develop agoraphobia. This intense fear of situations and locations where helplessness, embarrassment, and panic could overwhelm them can eventually become paralyzing.
In the most extreme cases, strugglers become homebound. The anxiety becomes so intense that individuals find it nearly impossible to leave their home or ‘safe space.’
The sooner you can get the help you need, the less involved your recovery likely will be. The best first step is to reach out to your mental health practitioner.
Medications Are Sometimes Effective in Managing Panic Attacks
Panic attack treatment typically involves several different tools working together. A common way to manage panic attacks involves medication. That often includes taking an antidepressant or an anxiety-relief drug.
Improve Your Physical Health
Regular exercise has been shown to decrease anxiety levels and should be considered. You’ll also want to avoid alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine. Deep breathing exercises often associated with yoga have been found useful in helping to manage panic attacks too. And, of course, make getting plenty of sleep a high priority.
How to Stop Panic Attacks: Consider Counseling
The path to panic attack relief requires patience. Strugglers often experience gradual improvement as they tap into a variety of treatment options. One of the most effective treatment options available is counseling or talk therapy.
Through talk therapy, you can work with your counselor to determine the events surrounding your panic attacks. You’ll also get to discuss how panic attacks happen.
Over time, you’ll learn to think differently about the details of your panic attacks. You may also discover some breathing strategies that help minimize the severity of your panic attacks or help you avoid one altogether.
As you gradually decrease your panic attacks’ severity and frequency, you’ll likely find this process ‘snowballs’ in a healthy direction. Fewer feelings of anxiety or fear of a future panic attack make the likelihood of one happening less of a worry.
Develop a Support System
Panic attacks can be incredibly embarrassing. Because of this, you’ll find swifter relief if you gather a group of friends and family around you who will encourage you.
Avoid anyone who tells you just to snap out of it or who shames you for your panic episodes. The more loving support you have, the better your results will be.
Would You Like to Schedule an Appointment with Us?
Have you been struggling with anxiety for a while now, and you’re unsure of what to do next? If so, you don’t have to suffer alone. You can see an anxiety therapist with the OC Relationship Center and find the relief you need.
We provide marriage counseling, relationship counseling, and individual therapy in Orange County, California. Our counseling offices are conveniently located in Mission Viejo, CA, and Newport Beach, CA. We also offer teletherapy if that would work best for you.
Feel free to schedule an appointment with us. We look forward to meeting you!